janet @ the taste space

Archive for September, 2014|Monthly archive page

Abby’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie with a Pecan-Oat Crust

In Desserts, Favourites on September 30, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Abby's Vegan Pumpkin Pie with a Pecan-Oat Crust

While it still feels like summer in Toronto, it is hard to believe Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. And as I was writing up my recipe for raw macadamia vanilla cream, I realized I never shared this fabulous recipe with you.

It still makes me smile that one of my co-workers, Abby, made a vegan and gluten-free pumpkin pie with me in mind for last year’s Thanksgiving.  Abby graciously let me take home all the leftovers which I enjoyed. Sadly, I was hoping to get better photos. I don’t think these do it any justice but figured I should still share the great recipe with you.

Abby's Vegan Pumpkin Pie with a Pecan-Oat Crust

Pumpkin pies are ubiquitous in the US around Thanksgiving but this pie was better than your traditional fare. A mixture of both pumpkin and sweet potato purees with a custard texture from tofu worked really well here. It was perfectly sweetened with a hint of savoury notes from the cinnamon and nutmeg. The recipe will make more filling than you need for one pie, which might work out nicely if you have a vegan friend who really wants all the leftovers. 😉

The crust was awesome, too, just a bit on the brown side, but with a spiced pecan background that worked well with the pumpkin pie.  As I pay more attention to the recipe, it looks like Abby took some inspiration for the crust from my pecan-shortbread crust I used with a lemon-cheesecake. You may not even need to pre-bake the crust like Abby did, so keep that in mind.

Are you ready for fall yet?

Abby's Vegan Pumpkin Pie with a Pecan-Oat Crust

I am sharing this with Simple and In Season and the Virtual Vegan Link-Up. Read the rest of this entry »

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Whipped Macadamia Cream with Berries

In Breakfasts, Desserts on September 27, 2014 at 7:22 AM

Raw Whipped Cream Berry Salad

Part of the allure for travelling to Madagascar and South Africa, other than the interesting animals (LEMURS! elephants! giraffes! rhinoceroses!) was the plant-life as well. I don’t like to scope out flowers (much) but I was excited to visit a tea plantation. Sadly, we were not in the right areas to visit vanilla plantations (Madagascar is the world’s top producer of vanilla) or cocoa plantations but we serendipitously stumbled upon fields and fields of macadamia trees in South Africa. Turns out South Africa is the second largest producer of macadamia nuts, after Australia where it is indigenous.

Raw Whipped Cream Berry Salad

So in addition to the chocolate, vanilla pods and tea, Rob allowed me to bring home some macadamia nuts too. A nice change from cashews, they bring a brilliant white to its sauces and possibly more creamy with all its fat. This is great news for those without a high-speed blender: silky sauces are just macadamias away.

Raw Whipped Cream Berry Salad

While the blogosphere feasts on the beginning of the fall produce (apples, pumpkin and my favourite: brussels sprouts), enjoy this berry-filled salad spruced with mint and topped with a creamy whipped macadamia cream. The vanilla is a pronounced flavour which countered the sweet berries well. Feel free to use it on top of your morning oats (see below), or as part of a parfait, or perhaps, more in keeping with fall, on top of a vegan pumpkin pie or fall-spiced hot beverage (pumpkin latte, pumpkin chai tea or hot chocolate, anyone?).

Are you ready for fall yet?

Raw Whipped Cream Berry Salad Read the rest of this entry »

South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce (Tomato-Free)

In Favourites, Sides on September 23, 2014 at 6:54 AM

South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce

WOAH! Stop the presses. Where have you been all my life?

No seriously.

I always thought barbecue sauces were tomato-based. This barbecue sauce has no tomato in sight. Instead, the base is from mustard and vinegar. It is amazing what a little blackstrap molasses can do to herald a sauce into the barbecue family.

The ultimate barbecue sauce is probably a very touchy/personal topic for many, especially in the US, with each region having their own spin on their special sauce for grilling. While in Texas, I didn’t go for barbecue, but I seem to be homesick for my time in Houston and bringing the barbecue back to Toronto.

However, this is not Texas-style barbecue sauce, it hails from South Carolina. Mustard-loving Germans added a barbecue twist to their local sauce and it is wonderful. Not too sweet, a heavy hand with the vinegar and a perfect punch from the savoury spices. A perfect mix for me and my love of all things mustard.

I haven’t quite decided what to do with this sauce yet. I was originally going to toss it with some tofu and veggies and then bake it, but now all I want to do is keep it. Why use that all in one go?

What is your favourite barbecue sauce and what do you like to do with it?

PS. I am sharing this with Credit Crunch Munch and this week’s Virtual Vegan Potluck.

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Creamy High Protein Mushroom Stroganoff

In Mains (Vegetarian) on September 20, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Creamy High Protein Mushroom Stroganoff

Do you remember the soba noodle debacle? The time I bought oodles of soba noodles and then proceeded to leave them in the pantry and slowly, slowly eat through them. Yeah, I still have soba noodles and still eating through them. A true hoarder.

However, when the cooking rut continues, I get less picky in the kitchen. I have little energy to refuse the noodles. Plus, they are quick and easy to make. I added the cold leftover sauce to warm noodles and it melted right in. A little green garnish might be nice, too. Consider adding fresh chives, as recommended in the original recipe. Because you know, I would never suggest eating parsley. Yucko.

Creamy High Protein Mushroom Stroganoff

I am sharing this with Random Recipes and Pasta Please for fusion cuisine. Read the rest of this entry »

Mushroom Ginger Congee & Oatrageous Oatmeals Cookbook Giveaway

In Breakfasts, Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on September 16, 2014 at 6:15 AM

Mushroom Ginger Congee

Nothing like a blog tour from a fabulous cookbook, to get me moving in the kitchen again. It also helped that the recipes are super easy and still delicious. I already told you all about OATrageous Oatmeals earlier but I am back for Kathy’s blog tour. This time sharing her recipe for Mushroom Ginger Congee.

Mushroom Ginger Congee

Traditionally congee is made with rice to make a porridge-like consistency and flavoured and garnished with as much or as little as you want. I noticed Kate Lewis’ photo in the book had additional mushrooms and green onions as garnishes, so I added that to mine. Not merely photogenic, it added a nice depth of flavour, too. I think a bit of toasted sesame oil would be lovely, too. I was never super convinced oats could hold savoury flavours so well, but this was delicious. I used Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats because I knew I wanted them to have a bit more texture. They were delicious here.

Mushroom Ginger Congee & Oatrageous Oatmeals Cookbook Giveaway

Thankfully, the publisher is letting me share the recipe AND give a cookbook to one reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered, please leave a comment here, telling me what you like to do with oats. I will randomly select a winner on September 28, 2014. Good luck!

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays. Read the rest of this entry »

Buffalo Hummus

In Appetizers, Sides on September 11, 2014 at 6:29 AM

Buffalo Hummus

Allow me to be honest with you. I may have lost my cooking mojo.

I haven’t really been too interested in cooking lately. My life has slowed down a lot (physically, mainly) and my heart no no longer sings in the kitchen. One must still eat, so I am still cooking… although finding it a challenge to continue to blog consistently.

And then I made this hummus.  I knew I had to share it right away.

I am no stranger to strange hummus concoctions but this one was really good. Spiced with sriracha with a depthness from red peppers, I really liked it. It wasn’t too spicy (for me!) so feel free to add more sriracha for your palate. I found this had a taste reminiscent of cheese but without any nooch, I think it was from the red pepper paste. This was nice and silky straight from the food processor. Sadly, it stiffened slightly as leftovers so either eat it all at once or add some more liquid as needed.

Buffalo Hummus

I am sharing this with My Legume Love Affair hosted by Valli and Bookmarked Recipes.

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Lemon-Cilantro Broccoli and Chickpea Salad

In Salads on September 9, 2014 at 6:37 AM

Lemon-Cilantro Broccoli and Chickpea Salad

One of my more popular salads is my spin on Whole Foods’ Detox Salad. I used lime and cilantro to complement the riced vegetables. I named mine “Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Lime and Cilantro” because I cringe when I hear the name “Detox Salad”.

In general, I always assumed that the enzyme myth was in fact, just a myth….. until I saw this video. (That long pause is Dr Gregor’s hallmark, at least in my mind).

Lemon-Cilantro Broccoli and Chickpea Salad

In this other video, De Gregor highlights the presence of sulforaphane in broccoli which enhances liver enzymes, as the most potent natural phase 2 enzyme-inducer. However, since sulforaphane is only created when two components interact, until you crush the raw cells (ie, with chewing or chopping), you miss out on sulforaphane. He later mentions that this needs to be done prior to cooking broccoli. Yes, the “enzyme myth” is true. Cooking is not as good for the broccoli’s sulforaphane levels.

But who likes raw broccoli?

Lemon-Cilantro Broccoli and Chickpea Salad
(Other than my Mom..)

To get the best of both worlds, a fun solution would be to chop your broccoli, wait a bit for the enzymes to work and then cook it.

And yes, this was my round-about introduction to this lemon-cilantro chickpea salad with almost riced broccoli, which I actually steamed for a gentler taste. Although, you are completely free to try this with raw broccoli rice, too. The lemon juice would make it tender, too, with time.

Poll time. Raw or cooked broccoli: which do you prefer? 🙂

Lemon-Cilantro Broccoli and Chickpea Salad

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays, No Croutons Required and Bookmarked Recipes.

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Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing

In Salads on September 4, 2014 at 6:57 AM

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing

Easing back into cooking in Toronto, I tried to highlight local, seasonal vegetables. We arrived too late to grow our own garden but we had a little help from family.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing

These cucumbers were courtesy of Rob’s mother’s garden and the tomatoes came from my sister-in-law’s parents’ garden. The dressing was a simple lemon-tahini-garlic combination that pretty much never fails. Although the twist was adding some olives. I don’t use them very often but it was an unusual and nice accent to the creamy dressing.

What are you growing this year?

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays and Bookmarked Recipes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Green Zebra Kitchen Review

In Book Review on September 2, 2014 at 6:19 AM

In case you haven’t noticed, the past month has a whirlwind. An international trip, an international move, an international exam, while beginning a new job with many hiccups along the way (the funeral, the delayed pod, the broken car, the broken ankle, oh yeah). Suffice it to say, I had lots of things on my mind. I had to focus on other things and thankfully, I found a fabulous vegan delivery service to help take care of keeping me well fed.

Green Zebra Kitchen is a Toronto meal delivery service that comes to your door. All meals are vegan and gluten-free and they use only organic, whole foods with as much local, seasonal produce as possible. Run by brothers Gregg and Dan, they both trained at Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and know how to cook. Let’s just say I was blown away by their creations. Delicious, creative and healthy. I think I even learned about new ingredients (how could that possible be? – but it is true! Have you heard of nepitella?).

There are a few plans you can purchase, but there are always 3 mains and 3 sides and you can swap any in/out if any do not appeal to you. Furthermore there are extras if you would like breakfast items (ie granola, oatmeal, smoothies) and extra sides (sauerkraut, flatbread, kale chips, hummus) or dessert (like dark chocolate almond butter cups). I ended up with their Plan B, meant to serve 3-4 meals.

Let me share with you the delicious meals of the  week:

Green Zebra Kitchen Review

 

Blue Tortilla Lasagna with Black Bean, Butternut Squash, Corn, Pickled Jalapeno, and Cashew Cheese

I am sorry my picture does not give it the credit it deserves because it was delicious. Blue corn tortillas were used to make a Mexican-inspired lasagna with a vegan cashew cheese sauce.

Green Zebra Kitchen - Blue Tortilla Lasagna with Black Bean, Butternut Squash, Corn, Pickled Jalapeno, and Cashew Cheese

 

Which was paired with: Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seeds, Edible Flowers, and Lime Vinaigrette

Nice and light, this was a simple (and delicious) kale salad.

Green Zebra Kitchen - Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seeds, Edible Flowers, and Lime Vinaigrette

 

Tuscan Chickpea Tempeh Bowl with Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Mushrooms, Olives, and Nepitella

I originally thought there would be chickpeas and tempeh in here, but it was tempeh made form chickpeas. I didn’t even know that was possible but it was delicious. I only wish there was more tempeh!

Green Zebra Kitchen - Tuscan Chickpea Tempeh Bowl with Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Mushrooms, Olives, and Nepitella

 

Which was paired with: Yellow and Green Bean Salad with Beets, Roasted Chickpeas, and Italian Vinaigrette

This is where I got my chickpea-fix along with all the other beans. Nice and light, it paired well with the more flavourful quinoa bowl.

Green Zebra Kitchen - Yellow and Green Bean Salad with Beets, Roasted Chickpeas, and Italian Vinaigrette

 

Massaman Thai Curry with Tofu, Red Pepper, Tamarind, Lime Leaves, and Coconut Milk

I found this a bit too sweet for me, but Rob loved it. He was bothered that there were no peanuts. Apparently peanuts are a quintessential ingredient for Massaman curry. That was Rob’s complaint the last time we tried making Massaman curry at home, so at least he is consistent. 😉

Green Zebra Kitchen - Massaman Thai Curry with Tofu, Red Pepper, Tamarind, Lime Leaves, and Coconut Milk

 

Which was paired with: Red Rice Salad with Shredded Broccoli, Carrots, Cashews, Cilantro, and Miso Ginger Dressing

Again, this was a nicely flavoured salad with not too much dressing. The ginger and miso were merely shades in the background.

Green Zebra Kitchen - Red Rice Salad with Shredded Broccoli, Carrots, Cashews, Cilantro, and  Miso Ginger Dressing

Extras:

Red Pepper, Walnut, Pomegranate Dip

AKA Muhammara. Delicious.The best of all the meals, and it wasn’t even a meal. I have made muhammara before and forgot how wonderfully delicious it can be.

Green Zebra Kitchen - Red Pepper Dip

 

Carrot Cake Balls

The next day, I accused Rob of stealing a ball but here I can easily tell he didn’t swipe one – I started out with 5! These were nice. A bit more moist than my typical dessert balls, but nice and light without being too sweet.

Green Zebra Kitchen - Carrot Cake Balls

Mango Lime Green Smoothie with Collards and Banana (unpictured)

I have a picture of the smoothie at the top. It was sweet but I would not have known there was collards (or any greens) hidden in it by the taste. It was green but did not taste green.

The menus change weekly and all orders need to be received by Friday for Monday delivery. I have spied other meals including, but not limited to:

Tempeh Reuben with Cauliflower, Potatoes, Garlic Scape Dill Kraut and Cashew Cheese

Moroccan Vegetable Stew with Red Lentils, Preserved Lemon, Olives and Zhoug

Chipotle Mac & Cheese with Yams, Roasted Cauliflower, Basil and Fresh Tomatoes

Biryani Bowl with Tofu, Chickpeas, Broccoli and Tamarind-Coconut Curry Dressing

Coconut Corn Chowder with Oyster Mushrooms, Potatoes and Chickpeas

Baked Falafel Bowl with Broccoli, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Quinoa Tabouli and Tahini Dressing

Overall, I highly recommend the food. The meals are healthy and totally Janet-friendly.

As advertised, it easily feed 3-4 people and even more if you supplement with additional quinoa/rice/etc from home to stretch the meals further. The diversity is vast and truly, the only thing keeping me from ordering every week would be the price ($62+tax for the plan B). I wish they would open a restaurant so I could get a quick fix at random times throughout the week.

Have you ever used a meal delivery service? I think it is great for times when you don’t have time to cook or if you are travelling to Toronto for business and don’t have time to make/find your food or you want some great vegan options should you host a party (if you do that, please invite me over!).

Note: I was provided with a week’s worth of eats for my review. I ended up loving it so much I bought it the next week, too.